Walter Owen Bentley was born on 16 September 1888 in London. Before becoming interested in motor racing, he was passionate about motorcycles, trains, and even led a fleet of taxis in London for two years. Accompanied by his brother Horace Milner, then he bought a franchise of the French car manufacturer DFP. Walter quickly thought of the competition, seeing it as an effective way to increase its reputation while expanding its capabilities. Its DFP has a record on the Brooklands circuit in the category of gear with an engine of two liters of displacement, up 66,78 miles per hour (mph), 107, 5 km/h, in November 1912. A year later, Walter Owen was her car aluminum pistons that he had himself designed. The DFP was able to beat his own record by hooking the 81,98 mph (132 km/h).

Five le Mans victories

The first world war broke out, Walter began working for the Royal Naval Air Service”, which will make use of its aluminum pistons in aircraft engines. After you have developed a new group in star (or rotary) for aviation English, the “Bentley Rotary”, the confidence the wins, and he decides to create his own automotive brand after the war was over. Bentley Motors sees the light of day in 1919. A year after, the factories Bentley are built at Cricklewood. The first automobile of the brand appeared in 1921, and is called the Bentley 3 Litre.

In 1924, it is the first victory for Bentley in the 24 Hours of le Mans with the crew Duff-Clement at the wheel of a Bentley 3 Litre. In 1926, the multi-millionaire Woolf Barnato became chairman of Bentley Motors, which is beginning to produce cars faster and faster. Result: Bentley won the 24 Hours of le Mans four times consecutively in 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Despite his great success in competition, the brand is running out of funds, and the racing is fast become a weight for the company. Bentley gives up the fight in June 1930, just after her fifth win at le Mans.

In 1931, Rolls-Royce buys Bentley that will change in the luxury sedan. Walter Owen is always working for his brand, but as a simple engineer. In 1935, the appeal of motor racing is irresistible, and he deserted Bentley to work at Lagonda and then Aston Martin. The Bentley will be manufactured in a new factory at Crewe in 1939, but the production will be stopped because of the second world war. It will resume in 1946 with the Bentley MK VI.

In 1952, the Bentley R-Type and R-Type Continental are cars with four-seater the fastest in the world. In the same year, the manufacturer with the winged B is introducing the automatic transmission. Three years later, the Bentley S1 was the first car built and designed in Crewe. This will be the last vehicle of the firm with a six-cylinder engine online. The year 1959 marks the arrival of the V8 and the automatic transmission in series, with the Bentley S2. The first model with a monocoque structure, the T1 arrived in 1965. Walter Owen Bentley, who had abandoned the race to focus on the Bentley Drivers Club, founded in 1936, died in 1971.

Power and torque

The year 1980 marked the takeover of Bentley and Rolls-Royce by the group the Vickers. Bentley will beat a few records, but with its vehicles of the series. Like the Azure, which was, in 1995, the convertible four-seater the most powerful, and the Continental T, which a year later, displayed the value of torque is the highest on the sports car market. In 1998, Volkswagen buys Bentley and Rolls-Royce, but if the first will remain the property of the firm of Wolfsburg, the second will be recovered by BMW. About the racing car, Bentley has imposed a last time at le Mans in 2003, more than 70 years after his victory in 1930.

The constructor of prestige English is still under the influence of Volkswagen today. But the brand remains a must-see for fans of first class travel, even if she still has recourse to the famous W12 engine developed by Volkswagen (two V6 Volkswagen in multiples) that she has perfected. For fans of the performance, there is always the Continental Supersports, which offers 710 horsepower for a torque of 1,017 Nm, and a top speed of 336 km/h. the sporty genes of the brand have never completely disappeared.

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